Whether you are interested in a new driveway or a municipal road, asphalt is a major investment. With regular care and maintenance, it can last for 20 or more years. However, asphalt that is not maintained can easily fall victim to cracking, potholes, and eventual failure. Here is how you can protect your asphalt and maximize your investment.
Interview any asphalt contractor you are considering, and be sure to follow up with references. The type and quality of asphalt selected, the level of care put into preparing the site, and the exact techniques used during the laying process can all make a significant difference in the lifespan of your asphalt.
A good contractor understands the particular challenges of each job and will guide you towards the best choices for your project. He or she will not cut corners, but will take the time necessary for a top-notch installation.
Heat, UV rays, and such common substances as gasoline, oil, and salt can erode asphalt over time. As the outer layers of asphalt wear away, water can more easily penetrate, leading to cracks and holes. Seal coating, or covering the asphalt with a protective sealant product, halts this process, protecting the asphalt and extending its lifespan.
Have your asphalt seal coated approximately six months after installation, allowing it time to fully cure. Sealant wears away over time, so it should be inspected annually and re-sealed every two to three years.
Regular Asphalt Inspection
Close visual inspection is the best way to find emerging damage before it becomes severe. At least once per year, move all vehicles and other items out of the way, and take a close look at the asphalt. Check for cracks, divots, holes, or other imperfections. Also look for areas of standing water or improper drainage, which can damage the asphalt over time.
Patching is a quick, easy, and long-lasting solution for minor asphalt problems. Damage that is less than one-quarter inch wide can generally be patched with a simple liquid patching compound. If the damage is a bit more severe, the asphalt may still be able to be saved.
Surface patching is often the best choice for moderately damaged asphalt. A few inches of asphalt are milled off the top of the damaged area, the hole is thoroughly cleaned out, and new asphalt is poured in and leveled off.
Severe damage in a relatively small area can often be fixed with dig-out patching. In this case, the entire section of failed asphalt is removed, and a new section is laid from the ground up. This is a complex repair, but is typically less expensive than total replacement if the damaged area is fairly compact.
Patching restores strength and integrity, but a patched piece of asphalt will never be as visually appealing as a new one. In addition, if you have multiple cracks or holes, it might be cost-prohibitive or impractical to patch all of them.
Resurfacing is a solution that can greatly extend the life of your asphalt while improving its curb appeal. In this case, the top layers of the asphalt are completely removed. Any necessary patching is done to restore structural strength, and then the top layers are replaced. This provides the strength and visual appeal of brand new asphalt at a fraction of the cost of a full replacement.
To maximize the lifespan of your asphalt, it is important to start with a high-quality installation, seal coat it, and then inspect and repair it frequently. Minor maintenance, such as small crack sealing, is easy and inexpensive. Repairing more extensive damage is more time consuming and costly than crack sealing, but it is still less than entirely replacing the asphalt. Staying ahead of potential damage is the best way to protect your asphalt and maximize your investment.
Ready to Get Started?
Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? Contact Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!